Minister Says Jonathan Fulfilled Power Promise

NERCThe Minister of Power in Nigeria, Professor Chinedu Nebo, says President Goodluck Jonathan has fulfilled his promise of power to the people but for the ‘gas war’ which has remained an obstruction to steady supply of electricity.

Despite huge disenchantment by the people over the power situation, the Minister on Wednesday insisted that it could get better in the near future if the new government would tackle the issues of pipeline vandalism and adopt renewable energy to generate more power.

A spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Lai Mohammed, had put current power generation in Nigeria to a little above 1,000 megawatts for a population of over 160 million people.

The drop in generation in the last few months, had affected most businesses in Nigeria which rely hugely on electricity generating sets for power.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Gloria Ume-Ezeoke reports that government authorities have blamed Nigeria’s electricity power crisis that had further deteriorated in recent times on sabotage and insufficient gas to run the country’s power plants.

During the 2011 presidential campaigns, President Jonathan made a deluge of promises, including provision of steady power supply, raising the hope of Nigerians, who have for years been groping in darkness.

Despite the worsening situation, the Minister of Power said the government had done well for the sector but for a few lapses.

The government has opened up the sector with the unbundling of its stakes in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in 2013 to allow private sector participation.

But more importantly, the outgoing administration has asked the incoming government, taking over on May 29, to treat the power challenge, with focus on pipeline vandalism.

FEC Tasks Buhari On Sustenance Of Power Sector Privatisation

FEC on Power Privatisation The incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari has been advised not to jettison the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector, as it will mean reversing the massive inflow of investment in the sector.

Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, gave the advice on Wednesday while briefing reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Nigeria had on September 30 2013 privatised the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, selling its stakes to private bodies.

The process was described as one of the most transparent in the African continent.

The incoming administration during their campaign commended the effort of the Jonathan-led administration in privatising the sector, but Professor Nebo still saw the need to request for continuity in the process.

He said the reversal of the privatisation programme will not be in the best interest of the country.

According to him, the reversal of the liberalisation of power generation, transmission and distribution will set Nigeria many decades backwards.

At the meeting, the Federal Executive Council approved the draft national policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for Nigeria.

The Minister of Power said: “The policy is the first of its kind and is set out to address the issues of renewable energy within the Nigerian electricity supply industry”.

Also at the meeting, President Jonathan marked the 5th years anniversary of his administration.

The FEC offered special prayers to mark the anniversary.

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, who is an ordained priest in the Anglican Communion and the Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, offered Christian and Muslim prayers respectively.

Five years ago, President Jonathan took over the leadership of Nigeria as substantive president.

President Jonathan was sworn-in on May 6, 2010 by a former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, following the death of late President Umaru Yar’adua.

President Jonathan Commissions 750 Megawatts Power Plant

Power PlantNigeria’s President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Friday commissioned the Olurunsogo Power Plant in Ogun State, South West Nigeria.

The 750 megawatts power plant is part of the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) built by the three tiers of government and is expected to add capacity to power generation.

During the commissioning of the newly built power plant, the President said that this project was a testament to the success of the reforms in the sector.

“It is instructive to know that this power station, like all the other nine, have been privatised through the very transparent and successful bid process which was carried out last year.

“This process initiated the expanded engagement of the private sector in the operations and management of our power assets.

“The proceeds realised from the privatisation process will be reinvested to further strengthen the national transmission grid,” President Jonathan said.

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, also explained, “Power generation in the country today has improved tremendously, with NIPP power stations playing an increasingly significant role in adding to the generation mix to Nigerians.

“Actual and available generation capacity has consistently hovered around 5,000 Megawatts with NIPP contribution rising daily as more units are synchronised into the system.”

Investments so far on the project stand at 650million dollars and 8.26billion dollars on other integrated power plants.

The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, speaking to Channels Television, also expressed joy that the NIPP idea had become successful with other African countries, especially South Africa beginning to copy it.

The Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, was also present at the commissioning.

The Olurunsogo Power Plant is already up and running.

Lawmaker, Power Minister Request Cash Support For DICSOs, GENCOs

Power plantThe Chairman of the House Committee on Power, Patrick Ikhariale, has asked the Federal Government to work out a funding support plan for private sector operators in the energy industry to bridge the cash deficit gap and consolidate the privatisation process in the sector.

Mr Ikhariale, who met with key players in the power sector to find solutions to the challenges in power generation, transmission and distribution said that withdrawing funding completely after privatisation has made it difficult for the sector to stabilise fully.

However, the Minister for Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, has said that plans were on to establish a Central Bank controlled fund but also explained that the shortfall in energy supply was reason why generation and distribution companies were having it tough in the privatization.

Following the hand-over of all PHCN facilities to investors in November 2013, the Federal Government had assured citizens that the privitisation process would result in improved power supply and stability.

FG To Revoke Redundant Coal Block Licenses

Coal minesNigerians who have refused to develop their coal blocks licenses will have such licenses revoked by the Federal Government.

The decision was reached at the end of the meeting held by the National Council on Privatisation, presided over by Vice President, Namadi Sambo, in the Presidential Villa.

Briefing state house correspondents after the meeting, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, said the country was losing huge sums of money in power production due to importation of coal, despite the fact that there are coal deposits in a large quantity.

The Council said that those who are holding on to the coal blocks are causing a lot of embarrassment to the country by sitting on the resources nature has given to the common man.

The National Council on Privatisation is also looking at the way forward for Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, especially now that cars being produced in Nigeria need raw materials from the plant.

The council also gave instruction to the legal team to remove all encumbrances to the development of Ajaokuta as well as study the lease to Geometric Company for Enugu and Aba DISCOs and arrive at an amicable solution to the empasse so that power will be delivered from there to Nigerians.

The Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) had told Geometric Power to expunge any idea of being given a new distribution company to work with.

The BPE insisted that acquiescence to the demand for a new distribution company will amount to a violation of pre-existing agreements with government, Enugu Disco and Aba Power.

This clarification became necessary following what the Bureau termed as, “blackmail to propel FGN/BPE to deny the rights of one citizen in order to satisfy the inordinate greed of another.”

The BPE further stated that there was a lease agreement dated 28th April 2005, signed between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) and Aba Power Limited (APL).

According to BPE, the agreement was for the generation, transmission and distribution of power to residential and commercial consumers in Aba, and Ariaria districts that fall under the Enugu Zone of NEPA in Abia State.

Power Minister Blames Low Power Supply On Sabotage

Chinedu-Nebo-Prof-Power-Minister-NigeriaThe Nigerian Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, on Wednesday blamed the low power supply being experienced across the country on sabotage.

In an update on the state of power supply, Professor Nebo explained that the damage of gas pipelines at several locations in the country had led to shutdown of over 2,000 megawatts of electricity.

He said that the loss of transmission lines and low availability of water at the dams had also affected power supply adversely.

Low Water Level

“The recent dip in power supply is mainly due to inadequate supply of gas to the thermal gas power plant arising from the current act of vandalism on gas pipelines. Trans Forcados pipeline is currently out and this is another 200 million scuffs of gas resulting to loss of 800 megawatts of power supply.

“There have been an attack on the trans-Niger line with a loss of 120 million standard cubic feet of gas and a loss of about 500 megawatts from the Akpan-six IPP, which is supposed to be delivering about 600 megawatts.

“The dams are low in water level. We have issues with Kanji, Jebba and Shiroro dams, which will be redressed as water level improves. We need rain,” Professor Nebo said.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said that the government had earmarked one billion dollars for the implementation of a comprehensive programme to check crude oil theft, the vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure and the apprehension and prosecution of crude oil thieves

At separate meetings with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte and the Chief Executive Officer of Shell International, Mr Ben Van Beurden, President Jonathan said that a technical committee had already been set up to look into all aspects of the implementation of the programme.

The fund is expected to help end pipeline vandalism in Nigeria, as the government pursue complete privatisation of the power sector.

Teething Problems

The Nigerian government handed over ownership of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to private companies on November 1, with Vice President Namadi Sambo, expressing hopes that Nigerians will begin to reap the fruits of the privatisation process.

Some Nigerians have said that power supply had dropped after the privatisation of the power sector.

But the government had earlier described the situation as part of the teething problems that users were bound to face after the unbundling of the PHCN, promising that the situation would improve within six months.

Nigerians are anxiously waiting for stable power supply that the new owners had promised.

Power Companies Can Raise Funds From Capital Market – Nebo

Chinedu-Nebo-ProfThe Nigerian Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, says power companies can approach the capital market to raise substantial funds to support growth despite an earlier agreement stopping them from doing so.

The Minister made the comment on Friday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where he rang the closing bell.

In an agreement between the Nigerian government and the power companies, during the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, the companies are not expected to approach the capital market for fund raising until after five years of purchasing the asset of the PHCN from the government.

The companies have been facing financial issues since the purchase of the assets and the Minister’s statement has opened the possibilities that the companies may soon approach the capital market to raise needed funds in order to develop the power sector.

Not Cast In Stone

Professor Nebo explained that the reason the new power companies might need the capital market despite the restrictions on listing within the first five years, was because of the needed development in the sector, which is expected to be rapid.

He said: “The capital market is one veritable means of getting funds for these new power companies that bought the assets of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria and those that are burying the assets of the NIPP project.

“The capital market will enable them to bridge the financial gap that and help them to realise, consolidate what they have acquired and grow it substantially.

“There was a clause in the agreement between the Federal Government and the companies that bought the assets that they will not list until after five years because the government wants to be sure that only serious minded people buy the assets but the agreement is not cast in stone”.

The Minister said that the companies could raise an alarm that they needed to be supported by the capital market in order to get much better affordable financing to meet their goals.

 

Azura Power Group To Invest $1bn In Nigeria Power Sector

Power stationInvestors from the Azura Power Group are planning to invest one billion dollars in Nigeria’s power sector.

This is in addition to the over four billion dollars investment secured by the Federal Government to boost power supply across the country.

In a meeting with the investors on Monday, the Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, said it was a major investment that would boost generation and distribution of power.

While there are other efforts to ensure stable and adequate electricity supply, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said that the deal would address the shortfall currently experienced.

The managing Director of the Azura Power Group, David Ladipo, expressed optimism that their investment would help Nigeria solve its electricity problem.

The investment is aimed at boosting power supply from the current 4,000 megawatts to 7,000 megawatts before the end of 2014.

The Nigerian government had in November 1, 2013, unbundled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria in a privatisation process that had been described as one of the most transparent privatisation processes in Nigeria and in West Africa.

Professor Nebo had at that time told Nigerians to expect an increase in tariff, a development that Nigerians had expressed readiness to embrace, as long as they have power to show for it.

Development Partners Pledge $2billion For Electricity Sector

A total of 2 billion dollars is expected to be contributed by development partners by 2018 for the development of Nigeria’s power sector.

The Country Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, Dr. Patrick Kormawa, who announced the pledge in Abuja, said that the gesture is aimed at improving generation, distribution and transmission of electricity.

The UNIDO Country Representative said that the 2 billion dollars is expected to be given as grant to ensure efficient power supply in the country, as increased financial support for the sector was necessary.

Dr Kormawa also pledged continuous support for other sectors of the economy begging for urgent attention.

Major players in the power sector and members of civil society organisations converged on Abuja to brainstorm on how to maintain sustainable service delivery in the post privatisation era.

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, explained that shortage of gas supply, vandalism and fragile transmission grids are some of the hiccups the Federal Government has to contend with, in spite of the financial commitment by development partners.

However, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, Patrick Ikhariale, warned against fraudulent practices by the investors to ensure that Nigerians enjoy services provided by the succeeding generation and distribution companies.

 

FG Approves Re-Conduction Of Onitsha-New Haven Transmission Line

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Nigeria has approved a contract for the supply of 746km of Aluminium Conductor Composite Core Reinforced (ACCR) for the re-conduction of the Onitsha-New Haven 330 KV transmission line.

The project will employ about 3,000 workers during the installation of the conductor while the multiplier effect of additional 400MW of power to the thriving areas of New Haven, Abakaliki and Makurdi would stimulate the generation of over one million jobs.

Briefing reporters after the council meeting, the Minister for Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, said that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) intended to fund the contract from the $135 million allocated to TCN from the proceeds of the Euro bond recently issued by the Federal Government.

“The reinforcement of the line would improve the nation’s transmission capacity and facilitate the evacuation of stranded generation from Afam and Okpai Power Plants.

 

FG Gives Private Operators Deadline For Steady Power

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo

The Presidency, on Tuesday gave matching orders to the private power companies to ensure that there is steady electricity in Nigeria by June 2014.

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, announced the deadline at the inauguration of the new board of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.

Professor Nebo, said that the six month ultimatum is to show government’s seriousness on the issue of power.

Seventeen successive companies were created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, as part of the privatization exercise.

The Power Minister warned that no excuses would be entertained for failure to achieve the June deadline.

The minister also hinted that the Federal Government was reviewing the power contract with Manitoba Hydro International, due to some discrepancies and strong reservations raised by the National Assembly.

Gas Pipeline Vandals Sabotage Nigeria’s Power Sector Efforts

The Minister of Power, Chinedu Nebo

The incessant pipeline vandalism in Nigeria’s western axis is affecting the supply of gas to power stations, reducing the megawatts by 1,000, a government official has said.

The Minister for Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, described the activities of pipeline vandals as sabotage to the government’s effort in ensuring that power generating companies get enough input in terms of gas supply.

He called on the media to sensitise Nigerians on the negative impact of such vandalism to the economy and to the entire value chain.

“When gas supply is affected, it is not only power that suffers. It affects the entire value chain. The industries cannot work. There will be no power and the farmers cannot get fertilizer,” Professor Nebo said on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise, on Saturday.

He reiterated that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had a good agenda that Nigerians would benefit from if they would support the government by ensuring that facilities put in place by the government were not vandalised.

“The president did what no other president could do. He faced the privatisation process and made sure it was completed,” he stated.

Since the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), some Nigerians have complained of deteriorating power supply.

Professor Nebo attributed the situation to the reduction in the supply of gas to power stations and assured Nigerians that there would be improvements in few weeks.

“Everything is on course. The challenge we are having now is the teething problem.

“The good news is that the work of these vandals is being checked. The National Security Adviser to the President held a meeting with security operatives and all the stakeholders to that effect. There have been convictions of those who have vandalised facilities.

“The hope is that very soon there will be an improvement in power supply, as the entire value chain is being addressed.

“The horrible dynamite blow outs of the gas pipeline on the western axis have all been fixed. In the next few weeks there will be significant improvements,” the minister said.

New Investors In Huge Debt Profile

Funding has also been identified as another issue that is affecting the supply. Some of the new power generating companies are over stretched, having huge debt profile.

“Some of the companies borrowed much of the money they used for the purchase of the unbundled PHCN.

“What we did not foresee is that there would be a huge debt profile hanging on the necks of the distribution companies.

“We are doing our best to ensure that the issue of gas is settled, then we will demand that the output match the input,” Professor Nebo said.

He pointed out that there were power projects that had not been used to its full capacity due to the gas shortfall.

“Geregu Power Plant should be generating over 400 megawatts but because of the gas pipeline vandalism, they are generating less than 200 megawatts,” he explained.

The minister urged Nigerians to be a little patient, as the expected improvements after the sales of the PHCN would be experienced soon.

At the moment, Nigeria is generating 3,800 megawatts, a figure far too small to cater for a nation of over 160 million people.